A lizard that’s native to Africa and could grow up to 5 feet long was spotted in Patchogue Village and captured just south of the Long Island Rail Road tracks Thursday.
The Suffolk County SPCA is now offering a $1,000 reward for the capture of the person who released the Savannah monitor lizard, which is popular among exotic pet traders but illegal to own in New York without a permit.
A passerby noticed the lizard along Rider Avenue near Baker Street in Patchogue. That person alerted police and provided a cat carrier to help transport the lizard to safety, SPCA officials said.
Savannahs are the least-likely to bite a human among all monitor lizards, if handled properly. It’s unlikely the lizard could have survived on its own in the region, officials said.
The person responsible for releasing the animal could face animal cruelty and abandonment charges.
Anyone with information is being urged to call the Suffolk County SPCA at (631) 382-7722.
The SPCA also reminds that it’s hosting an Oct. 10 amnesty day, in conjunction with the town and state, at the Holtsville Ecology Center for anyone wishing to surrender illegal animals without fear of prosecution.
Suffolk County SPCA courtesy photo